Where Books Are Made: 4 Authors Share Their Writing Space

This post was originally published on the Harlequin Ever After blog.

Have you ever wondered how your favorite romance books are created? Does the author write from the couch, at a desk, on the go? Well, we have asked some of your favorite romance authors to tell us about their reading and writing spaces, so you can take a peek behind the curtain.

Joss Wood, author of SECRETS OF A BAD REPUTATION

My office is my favorite room in my house, which is a good thing since I spend so much time in it! Years ago, we converted the attached single garage into a room for me to work, and about six or seven years ago it received an overhaul. Both my husband and I are huge fans of recycling, or upcycling, and also of using industrial and unusual materials in our home.

My instructions to my decorator (AKA my husband) was that I wanted a huge desk and tons of shelving. We first decided on an L-shaped desk that ran along two walls. But I didn’t want a boring brown desk, so we looked for an alternative and found wooden window frames (originally from a well-known children’s hospital that was demolished) in a salvage yard. A steel structure supports the frames (still covered in their original paint) and two long, thick and heavy pieces of industrial glass lie on top of them.

I also wanted a different concept for my bookshelves. We had a lot of Oregon pine shelves that we picked up somewhere (I loved salvage yards and secondhand shops), so Vaughan suggested that we use copper piping to form the support structure for the bookshelves. The bookshelves go right up to the ceiling and if I ever move, the shelves (and the books) and my desk are coming with me.  Over the years, the copper pipes have turned a little green, and I love that. The dominant color scheme in my office is orange, a happy color! My two cork boards are always filled, there are usually coffee cups and water bottles on the surface, and the usual mess that comes with a busy office.

Jill Lynn, author of THE VETERAN’S VOW

I often wish I was one of those fancy writers with a beautiful office, an organized desk, an ergonomically correct chair, and perhaps a nice view out my window overlooking an ocean. 😉  But alas, I am not. While we do have an office in our house, I’m not often in it. I tend to bounce around during my writing time.

I am a roaming writer—and reader—it seems.

In the mornings, I usually start off at the island with my coffee. I’ll buzz through some of the author tasks that aren’t writing focused before actually getting down to increasing my word count. Then I might move to the couch. We have a great view of Pike’s Peak from our front window, and I love the light that fills our living room.

In the summer and warmer weather, I absolutely love writing outside. Our covered patio is one of my very favorite spaces. On sunny days that aren’t overly hot, I pull my chair out into the yard and write with a hat blocking the sun so I can still see my screen.

Every so often I write on my bike desk, but let’s not discuss how little that happens. 😊 The fact that I have no photo with it or on it might be an indicator…ha!

When it comes to reading and to brainstorming, I’m also a big fan of a bath. I can’t tell you how many books that I’ve read—or even some of mine that I’ve plotted—in the bath.

It’s funny to look at these spaces and see they’re interchangeable for me—I might write in them, or I might read in them. I guess I like to create and replenish in the same spots! Thanks for joining me on this writing/reading spaces journey.

Judy Duarte, author of ANYONE BUT A FORTUNE

Over the last twenty years, I’ve written more than sixty books for Harlequin, most of them Special Editions.  And that means I spend a lot of time in front of a computer.  I write almost every day, either working on a line edit of a soon-to-be published novel, revising a scene or noodling a new story premise.

I have a designated office, which is upstairs, but that’s not the only place I write.  My writer’s muse—I call her Felicity—is a bit unpredictable and whimsical.  I never know when she’s going to pop in with a clever idea.  I might be making a pot of chili when a rough and awkward scene will suddenly come together for me.  Or I could be watching television—I’m a big fan of Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD—or reading a novel when Felicity flits into the room with a much better setting for the wrap-up scene in Chapter 7.

So that’s why I set up three places to write—my large office upstairs, the dining room and the kitchen counter.

In fact, I can’t go on vacation or visit my out-of-state grandkiddos without taking my laptop with me! One never knows when Felicity might show up with a little pixie dust and a story twist I hadn’t planned.

I’ve included pictures to show you where I write my books.  If you look carefully you’ll also see a bit of the place I call home and you just might catch a glimpse of my favorite snack and drinks.

Here’s my actual office:

And this is where I write on an HP laptop in the kitchen:

You can also find me and my MacAir in the dining room.

Here’s the view from my work space in Maui.  And no, I didn’t reach my page quota that day.

I hope you enjoyed the view! Now I’m off to write Book Five in the 2023 Fortunes of Texas continuity—I just know you’re going to love that series, too!

Nichole Severn, author of DEAD GIVEAWAY

Writing is one of those things I have to do. Every day. It startedas a passion and turned into a habit. If I miss a day due to illness or family stuff (like my son breaking his third bone this year last week), my entire day is thrown off. So when my husband was relegated to work from home two years ago (he’s still here—help me), I found it nearly impossible to get any writing done during my office hours.

Turns out, according to my CliftonStrengths, I have to be able to focus for my creative juices to flow. That’s kind of hard to do when my desk is in the same room as my dirty laundry. I’d learned over the years that one of the best things a writer can do is train themselves to write anywhere. I’d honed that habit to a science these past few years (RULES IN BLACKMAIL was written entirely at park benches while my son played, and THE LINE OF DUTY was drafted from beginning to end on my iPad at a coffee shop). But after weeks of not being able to write a word and getting behind on deadlines once everyone was sent home, I got desperate. I started reading every book I could on productivity and came across something that would save my sanity.

A mobile office.

I already had a keyboard for my iPad, which I’d been using at conferences and to write on vacation so I didn’t have to lug around my laptop, but I had no idea there was such a thing as a steering wheel desk. It’s a super simple setup, and every day while I’m waiting for school pick up, I strap that puppy on my steering wheel and get creating. I bring along my writing notebook and a pen to take notes along the way, but I’ve seen other creatives include entire trapper keepers of tools to work.

Funny enough, I actually write more words sitting in my car for thirty minutes than I do sitting at my desk for an hour! Now my car is my go-to office. I know I can get double the work done in half the time, and it’s saved my sanity (and my deadlines) on more than one occasion. Have you ever put together your own mobile office? What do you include in yours?

Do have a dedicated reading nook? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments section below!

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